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State Department Legal Adviser Joins the Blogers

State Department Legal Adviser Joins the Blogers

Carmen Grayson wrote:
  *Much enjoyed Mr Peck's sardonic "musings," they're spot-on, of
course.  His ironic humor is a relief from what, au fond, must be a
near-despairing outrage. President Bashar Al Assad is no slouch in
disdainful wit either-- complimenting our crack patrols at the Mexican
border as role models for Syria vis-a-vis Iraq. *
  ** *John Bellinger, legal adviser to Secretary Rice, is putting
himself out there on _a blog, for heavens sake! _   Mr. Bellinger is
getting powerful, fundamental challenges over at www.opiniojuris.org
from his legal cohort.  *
  ** *I'm curious as to why  Secretary Rice allows her legal adviser
such an open public platform and what mystifies me even more, given the
Administration's noxious position on these detainee issues, is what
motivates *John* B. *Bellinger* III to engage these scholars. Or is the
S.D. engaging in a subcategory of public diplomacy?*
  ** *Any light you or your friends could shed on this public first (as
far as I know) would be appreciated. *

RVK response:
   You are right in your conclusion that the State Dept. is indulging
in some "public diplomacy" to counter criticism of the administration's
abandonment of international law in many respects. This is of course
illegal, or would be if indulged in by the old U.S. Information Agency,
which was not allowed to propagandize the American public. I suppose the
State Dept. is allowed to do so, however.
  You have a way of finding more and more obscure websites. This one I
have never heard about. I checked it out and all I found was that it is
sponsored by the "Social Science Research Network." It may be
commercial, because they also promote "S.S. Electronic Publishing,"
whatever that is.
  Bellinger was apparently invited to participate in their blog by
posting six entries in the week of January 16, which then invited
comments from viewers of the blog. This permitted Bellinger to also
advertise his speeches to various groups, and provided links to those
texts. I suppose this invitation was seen by Bellinger and his people as
an opportunity to answer their critics about the administration's
policies re detainees, etc. They are trying to argue back to the
international law professoriat and other legal profession critics.
  The only thing that surprised me was that I learned Bellinger's
Office of the Legal Adviser has 160 workers there. When I last worked in
the Dept. I would guess that they had no more than a dozen or two. Since
we were then not extensively violating international law, Geneva
Conventions and God knows what else, they probably didn't need more than
a dozen or two--to vet new treaties on mundane subjects before
submitting them to the Congress. If we now need 160 lawyers helping the
Legal Adviser to Rice you know that we are in deep kimche as far as
international law is concerned.

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Robert V. Keeley
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